Telehealth Cuts Ambulance, Emergency Costs

From Medscape:

A telehealth initiative — in which emergency medical technicians use a tablet to connect patients with doctors instead of taking them to the emergency room — is reducing unnecessary visits and saving money in Houston, a new study shows.

An added benefit of the program is that it connects patients with a medical home, said presenter James Langabeer, PhD, from the University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics in Houston.

15 states where drug overdose deaths increased most from 2014-2015

From Becker’s:

Opioid overdoses accounted for 33,091 deaths in 2015, according to a CDC report released in December.

The report detailed the change in drug overdose deaths by state and calculated the increase in drug related deaths from 2014 to 2015. The data includes heroin and synthetic opioid-related deaths, excluding methadone.

8. Ohio: 21.5 percent

15. Iowa: 17 percent

Doctor-rating websites lack helpful information

From Reuters:

Consumers increasingly turn to commercial physician-rating websites, similar to those for restaurants and hotels, when searching for a new doctor, but the sites rarely have information that actually helps patients, researchers say.

Most doctors typically have no more than a few reviews on a site, and the reviews often don’t provide good insight into the doctor’s qualifications, personality or the patient experience, a new study finds.

Ethics in the Pediatric Emergency Department: When Mistakes Happen: An Approach to the Process, Evaluation, and Response to Medical Errors.

From Pediatric Emergency Care (via PubMed):

The emergency department (ED) is an environment that is conducive to medical errors. The ED is a time-pressured environment where physicians aim to rapidly evaluate and treat patients. Quick thinking and problem-based solutions are often used to assist in evaluation and diagnosis. Error analysis leads to an understanding of the cause of a medical error and is important to prevent future errors. Research suggests mechanisms to prevent medical errors in the pediatric ED, but prevention is not always possible. Transparency about errors is necessary to assure a trusting doctor-patient relationship. Patients want to be informed about all errors, and apologies are hard. Apologizing for a significant medical error that may have caused a complication is even harder. Having a systematic way to go about apologizing makes the process easier, and helps assure that the right information is relayed to the patient and his or her family. This creates an environment of autonomy and shared decision making that is ultimately beneficial to all aspects of patient care.

ER doctors working to address opioid addiction

From the Register-Herald:

Long-term opioid use oftentimes begins with a trip to the emergency room for acute pain, but prescriptions written by ER physicians account for only 5 percent of all opiates in the U.S.

“No physicians see the scourge of opiate addiction more than emergency physicians do,” said Dr. Rebecca Parker, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “We treat the overdoses and witness the deaths; it is tragic.”

Parker said although ER physicians write only a small percentage of the opioids in the nation, ER doctors are taking the lead on addressing the problem.

She said between 2007 and 2012, emergency medicine saw the largest percentage drop in opioid prescribing rates. She also said only 17 percent of emergency patients leave the ER with an opiate prescription, according to the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

New Mascot

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Why Am I Waiting in the Emergency Department?

Excellent video: